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By Jon Hasbrouck

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    In days gone by when there was chivalry and tourneys between knights, there were men known as heralds. The herald's job was to announce the various knights, and to do so he would describe the coat- or shield-of-arms. "Coat-of-arms" came about from the trendy thing of having the shield-of-arms embroidered on one's coat. The herald's announcement was essential since the knight was all bundled up in armor and not readily identified by the crowd. A herald would announce, to the crowd and royalty, a Hasbrouck knight as follows (in French, or course); Purpure, a chevron between three flambeaus or, flamed proper.
  • Crest: a demi-blackmoor proper holding in his dexter hand upraised an arrow pointed down, argent, in sinister hand held across his body, a flambeau of the shield or, flamed proper.
  • Motto: "Dieu Sauve Van Asbroeck."
  • Mantling: Purpure and or.
  • Badge: an award chipped or and leaved or.

Essentially he said this:

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  • The shield is purple with a chevron-gold, between three torches (handlamps) - gold with flames in natural color.
  • The crest is a black Moor in natural color holding in his right upraised hand an arrow pointed down in silver and in his left hand, held across his body, a lamp like those on the shield in gold and flames in natural color.
  • The motto is "God Save Hasbrouck."
  • The mantling is purple and gold.
  • A badge (award) in chipped gold and leaved in gold.

We do have a typical discrepancy with the facing of the helm (helmet) and the crest (the Moor). According to heraldic custom, they should face in the same direction. Ours today face in different directions- helm to dexter and crest to front.

There is some question as to the appropriate facing of the helmet. Ours, facing dexter (to the right), has a closed visor. This is fine for the squire or gentlemen, but a knight would have his helmet face forward with visor open. The coat we use is most likely the coat-of-arms issued to the knights (chevaliers) of our family.

What do all the symbols on the family Coat of Arms mean?

  • The lamps denote superior knowledge and wisdom of counsel (knighted for wisdom).
  • The black Moor shows the Hasbroucks fought in the Crusades against the Moors. (More about this below.)
  • The Moor holds an arrow pointed downwards, meaning defeat in battle.
  • The Chevron is supposed to have been adopted from the bow of a war saddle. It can also denote landed gentry.
  • The Mantling is tattered helmet cloth of the knight fancifully draping the shield.
  • The leaves or decorations around the shield are just that - decorations.
  • The Motto is in French; however, the people were Flemish with a language much like Dutch, accounting for the spelling of Van Asbroeck.

This primary shield used by most of the family here in America was supposedly awarded by Charles V to the knights (chevaliers) of the family. Actually the so-called crusade in the mid 1300's was more a political battle by the French and English for influence with Spain. Charles V decided to do battle with the King of Castile (Pedro the Cruel). The English, too, were headed for the same battle to make it a three way conflict, but they got lost en route.

Charles V used mercenaries to disguise the bizarre event from appearing as an official French campaign. Anyone who asked awkward questions was told they were all going on a Crusade against the Moors of Granada. The Pope was thankful to get rid of the companies that had threatened his palace at Avignon and gave them his blessing and contributed to their wages.

Anyone interested in this event should read the following book: Turnbull, Stephen, The Book of the Medieval Knight, Crown, NY, 1985, pages 70-75.

You can make online purchases of a number of items decorated with our Coat of Arms, using this link: www.cafepress.com/hasbrouckfamily.

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